How To

Seated Row


The seated cable row is a compound exercise that targets the muscles in the back, particularly the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius. It also engages the biceps and forearms as secondary muscles. Here’s a guide on how to perform the seated cable row:

How to Do the Seated Cable Row


  • Sit down at a cable row machine with a V-bar or wide grip handle attached.
  • Place your feet on the provided footrests with knees slightly bent.
  • Reach forward to grasp the handle.

Starting Position:

  • Sit upright with a neutral spine, chest up, and shoulders back.
  • Your arms should be fully extended in front of you, holding the handle.

Rowing Phase:

  • Exhale as you pull the handle towards your torso, driving your elbows back.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the end of the movement.
  • Keep your torso stationary; the movement should come from the arms and shoulders.

Returning Phase:

  • Inhale as you slowly extend your arms and return the handle to the starting position in a controlled manner.


  • Perform the desired number of repetitions.

Muscles Used

Primary Muscles:

  • Latissimus Dorsi: The large muscles on either side of the back.
  • Rhomboids: Located between the shoulder blades.
  • Trapezius: The muscle that spans the upper back and neck.

Secondary Muscles:

  • Biceps Brachii: Engaged during the pulling motion.
  • Brachialis and Brachioradialis: Assist in elbow flexion.
  • Erector Spinae: Provides stability to the spine during the movement.

Benefits of the Seated Cable Row

  1. Back Development: Effectively targets and strengthens the major muscles of the back.
  2. Improved Posture: Strengthening the back muscles can contribute to better posture and reduced back pain.
  3. Functional Strength: The rowing motion mimics everyday movements, enhancing functional strength.
  4. Versatility: Different handle attachments can be used to vary the exercise and target different areas of the back.

Common Mistakes

  1. Using Momentum: Avoid rocking or using your torso to pull the weight. Ensure a controlled motion to maximise muscle engagement.
  2. Rounding the Back: Maintain a neutral spine and upright posture throughout the movement.
  3. Incomplete Range of Motion: Ensure you fully extend your arms at the start and pull the handle close to your torso for maximum contraction.
  4. Elbow Flare: Keep your elbows close to your body and drive them straight back.

The seated cable row is an effective exercise for building strength and muscle in the back. Proper form and technique are essential to maximise benefits and reduce the risk of injury.

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